Ericsson is hoping to take a slice of BlackBerry's pie, by re-selling a mobile "push" e-mail product called Smartner. The new product is being sold as "Ericsson Mobile Office (EMO) version 5.0" and replaces Ericsson's own WAP-based EMO, which expired at version 3.2.
"We aim to meet the needs of small and medium-sized companies with a good, quickly rolled-out product," David Ekberg, director of mobile data solutions at Ericsson. "We will see developments for larger enterprises in future."
Ericsson's "EMO 5.0" sounds like a fairly straight version of the Duality product from Finnish software developer Smartner, which includes versions for single users (either hosted by a service provider or at the user company), and a multi-user version which connects to corporate Exchange servers. The client runs on Symbian or Windows Mobile clients, and can be bought by individuals, or sold through operators.
"It's a crowded market," conceded Ekberg, "but the others don't have a real 'push' solution." Apart from any others using Smartner Duality, of course - or other push email products such as Good, Visto or BlackBerry. Although Ericsson has no EMO 5.0 contracts to announce yet, he expects some operators to go public "in a few weeks".
Ericsson's relationships with operators should get it contracts for the push e-mail technology, said Ekberg, and its global support organisation will take it further than start-ups such as Good, he said. Compared to BlackBerry, Duality has no hardware dependence, he said. Although BlackBerry is now available on other platforms , such as Siemens and Nokia, BlackBerry maker RIM still relies heavily on selling handsets.